Newsletter No. 269

E-NEWSLETTER ABSTRACT Volume 2 No. 2 1 CUHK Receives HK$31 Million fo rResearch o n Treatment o firritable Bowel Syndrome with Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine The National Institutes o f Health in th e US is allocating US$3.96 million (HK$31 million) fo r th e establishment o f a n International Center fo r Research o n Complementary and Alternative Medicine t o research o n th e use o f traditional Chinese medicine t o treat irritable bowel syndrome. Th e research will b e led by the Chinese University. Partner institutions are the University o f Maryland and th e University o f Illinois i n th e US , and the University o f Western Sydney i n Australia. CUHK Engineering Scientists Won Major Award i n Information Science Prof. Robert L i Shuoyen (middle), Prof. Raymond Yeung Wai-ho (left), and Dr . Ca i Ming (right) o f the Department o f Information Engineering have been awarded the 2005 IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award fo r their groundbreaking work entitled 'Linear Network Coding'. The paper proves the optimality o f linear network coding, making possible the realization o f network coding i n practical applications. This is th e first time Hong Kong-based scientists have received the award and the first time i n over 30 years that i t has been won b y Asian researchers. US Consul General o f Hong Kong and Macau Analyses New Roles and Challenges o f Hong Kong and China Mr. James B . Cunn i ngham, U S Consul General o f Hong Kong and Macau, delivered a lecture entitled 'Hong Kong and the Mainland: New Stage, New Roles' on 9th November at the University. For details, please visit . N e w Minimally I n v a s i ve Su r g i c al Skills C e n t r e Opens T he Faculty o f Medicine has established th e first multi-disciplinary surgical skills training centre i n th e Asia Pacific. Th e CUHK Jockey Club Minimally Invasive Surgical Skills Centre (CUHK J C MISS Centre) i s equ i pped w i th c u t t i n g - e d ge t e c h n o l o g i es de s i gned f o r comprehensive modern surgical training an d skills development, i n particular, fo r th e full range o f minimally invasive surgery (MIS). These revolutionary training methods i n surgery will greatly improve the quality o f patient care. The opening ceremony o f th e centre o n 18th November marked the commencement o f the Silver Jubilee o f the Faculty o f Medicine. Mr. John C.C. Chan, deputy chairman o f th e Jockey Club, Mr s . Carrie Yau , Permanent Secretary fo r Health, Welfare and Food o f the HKSAR, Dr. Vivian Taam Wong, chief executive of the Hospital Authority, Prof. Lawrence J. Lau, vice-chancellor o f CUHK, Prof. T.F. Fok, dean of medicine, Dr . Hong Fung, Hospital Chief Executive o f the Prince o f Wales Hospital, Prof. Andrew van Hasselt, chairman o f the executive committee o f the CUHK JC MISS Centre, an d Prof. C.K . Yeung, d i r ec t or o f th e centre, officiated a t the ceremony. The HK$50-million centre i s funded b y a generous donation o f HK$28.2 million from the Jockey Club and support from Kai Chong Tong, the University, and th e community-at-large. I t will house a surgical skills laboratory, a virtual reality laboratory, t w o state-of-the-art endo- surgery operating theatre suites, a simulated operating room, the only leading-edge robotic surgical system i n Hong Kong, a microsurgical and endoscopic surgical laboratory, an d a seminar room al l linked b y teleconferencing facilities. (From right) Prof. C.K. Yeung, Prof. Andrew van Hasselt, and Prof. Jacques Marescaux, WebSurg Editor-in-Chief, at a press conference Chinese Astronauts Visit CUHK Astronauts ofShenzhou VI, Fei Junlon g(left) and Nie Haisheng (right), shared their experience in space with the University community at Sir Run Run Shaw Hall on 28th November. MILESTONE I NTREATMENT OF CHILDHOO D ACUTE LEUKEMIA L eukemias ar e th e most c ommon c h i l d h o od malignant diseases i n Hong Kong, accounting for 30 pe r cent o f paediatric cancers. Despite th e high cure rate, childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is still a major cause o f cancer-related deaths i n children. A quarter o f childhood ALL patients may fail therapy, develop relapse and some may eventually die due t o the persistence o f low numbers o f residual l e u k em ic c e l l s, w h i c h ar e u n d e t e c t a b le b y conventional methods using cytomorphology. O n th e other hand, some good treatment responders are likely to b e over-treated. W i t h s uppo rt f r om t h e Ch i l d r e n 's Cancer Foundation, th e Departments o f Anatomical an d Cellular Pathology, an d Paediatrics studied 4 5 AL L children recruited from five major hospitals i n Hong Kong since September 2003 and traced their minimal residual leukemic cells during th e early months o f therapy. T o map th e cell antigen patterns uniquely expressed b y leukemic cells, mu l t i p le strategic combinations o f antibodies were applied and analysed using multiparametric flow cytometry. Seventy-eight per cent o f the patients could b e successfully traced at Day15, Day33 and Week12 post-induction therapy. Detection and quantification o f residual leukemic cells was also encouraging. This strategy provides a closer and more effective monitor o n th e effect o f the therapy and th e risk o f relapse. This implies that th e clinical relevance o f different levels o f residual disease could b e defined and the ultimate goal of developin g the best optimized risk adapted personal therapy with improve d survivals and quality o f life from reduced toxicities could b e achieved i n the near future. The research team 1 No. 269 4t h December 2005